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Things to know about slab leaks


Tacoma Slab Leak RepairA common method for constructing foundations in houses is to pour a monolithic concrete slab that is several inches thick. These types of foundations are referred to as slab or slab-on-grade foundations. Water lines are put in place before the concrete slab is poured, so they are located under the slab. Slab leaks occur when the water pipes become damaged and water begins to seep out into the soil and gravel under the slab.

Usually the first symptom of a slab leak is a sudden jump in the water bill. However, the sound of running water when no faucets are leaking, or dark spots and pools of water on concrete floors can also indicate a slab leak. Concrete is a porous material and will wick water from the leak up through the concrete slab to its top surface.

Water collecting on concrete floors can also be caused by poor drainage under the slab, so determining if a broken pipe is the cause can be difficult. Also, even if there are visible signs of water damage, the location of the leak may be several feet away. Determining the cause of water damage on slabs, and locating leaks, requires specialized equipment and is best done by a professional to avoid unnecessary expense and damage.

Leaking water pipes are typically caused by settling of the slab foundation. Over time soil and gravel located under the slab may settle at different rates. This causes the concrete slab to shift, and puts strain on the water pipes. Cracks or breaks in the pipes can then occur. Also, copper pipes that are not properly insulated when installed can corrode in certain types of soils. As the corrosion eats away at the pipes, leaks can begin.

Slab leaks that are not repaired can lead to significant foundation damage. They can also ruin any floor material that rests on the concrete. Mold is also a problem, as the moisture from a leak can enter into a house's drywall and provide a perfect environment for growth.

Think your Tacoma home may have a slab leak? Call All Purpose Plumbing at (253) 473-5100 and schedule a service call immediately!